By Rev. William A. Collins
If we are not personally suffering from a failed marriage or do not know someone in our own family who is, we might ask, how can people marry for the wrong reasons? Whenever I think of it, I jot down some of these wrong reasons which people who seek annulments, in looking back, see as their mistake. Here is a brief list:
1. “This marriage is better than nothing”, i.e., you don’t think you are attractive enough to attract someone else, you are flattered by this person’s attention which is more than you have had before, even if it is insanely jealous attention. If you feel you do not deserve much, you will settle for much less than you really deserve.
2. “To get away from home.” Home may seem unbearable if it is a dysfunctional home, but one in such a hurry to get away, is likely to pick someone as a spouse who is no better. Coming from a dysfunctional home, one might not know what is better and what is not, because he or she has never experienced a normal marriage in his/her parents’ marriage or a normal human relationship in his/her family life.
3. Pity for an inadequate, mixed up, troubled person. Marriage is not a therapeutic institution. It demands a two-way helping relationship, not a one-way relationship. Even if you feel you are the strong one, there will be times when you are weak and need a strong spouse to lean on. Especially when and if you have children, you can not raise children well with a spouse who is just another child.
4. Need to be needed. This is related to #3. One should ask why you feel you need to be needed, especially if it is at the expense of having your own needs fulfilled.
5. Someone so different in attitude and background that they seem exciting. Yet, adventure is a short term thing, but marriage is for the long-term. While opposites attract, that is true only up to a point. You must share basic attitudes and values with someone you intend to marry and live with for a lifetime.
6. Some people say that they married because, during courtship, they had fun together. Of course, you would not want to marry someone with whom you never or very seldom had fun. Still, there is more to life over the course of a lifetime than having fun. There are many times in life when happiness, security and survival demand that we get serious. If you married someone without thinking about whether or not they could get serious when they need to be, then you are in trouble.